Don’t know when it first happened, but recently I realized that I was marking time.
I was rising, writing my columns, working on various projects, watching a favorite TV show (Each night has one.) and then going to sleep. The routine was marked, occasionally, by a black-tie dinner here, a radio appearance there, a movie or lunch with friends. But mostly the days just passed.
And suddenly, I woke up. Just like that.
As an empty-nester, which sounds old, but really just means I have only one schedule to check when someone asks whether I want to go to dinner or take a trip.
So now, each day until the Michigan winters set in (and my doctor’s advice not to take baths might take hold), I wake early, go and water Desi, who takes longer and longer to do his business because he knows the walk lasts as long as he hasn’t gone. (His limit is an hour.) I return and pour into steaming hot water a cup of Dr. Teal’s Therapeutic Solutions, its aroma of eucalyptus and spearmint apparent before the water hits it, and a little Freesia body wash. Then I pick up my latest book (This week it is Jeffrey Eugenides’ brilliant, Pulitzer-Prize-wining “Middlesex” – and I relax and read while listening to a mix of Janet Jackson, Usher and James Morrison, nothing faster than adagio while sipping a too-expensive cup of tea.
My daily battle preparations are just a way to gird myself for the work I’m doing now, chasing personal dreams and monuments while doing my day job. I am ready to travel abroad again. I am ready to love again. I am ready to see the world through new eyes.
The preparations have worked. I now begin every day like I plan to live in on purpose, and the day becomes purposeful.